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October 5, 2015 by Dennie Brooks

Dorothea Dix Learning Center: “Bearing witness, giving voice”


Dr. Dean Brooks (at top) passed away in 2013; his friend, attorney Al Bendich passed on January 5, 2015.

Dean and Al
Early this year, we directed the Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund to give a small grant ($2800) to the Oregon State Hospital Museum’s Dorothea Dix Learning Center in memory of Al Bendich and Dean Brooks. The grant’s focus was for development of curriculum for educators to use when bringing students to the museum.

The Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund was established by my dad, Dr. Dean Brooks, in 2012. He assembled the think tank and charged the august group of well-connected and largely retired professionals to work to reverse public policy established in the 1970’s which has resulted in countless people with mental health challenges ending up in jails and prisons instead of getting the mental health care they need. The Think Tank’s final focus was to concentrate support for activities leading to cultural change.

Dad met Al Bendich in the course of the production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, where Al was co-owner of Fantasy Films, which produced Cuckoo.  They became fast friends and would spend the next half century conferring on the intersection of mental health policy and the justice system. Al was a founding member the Think Tank.

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